18 Nov 2019
The Dental Board of Australia’s revised Scope of practice registration standard will take effect from mid-2020 after it was approved at this month's meeting of the Council of Australia Governments (COAG) Health Council (CHC).
The Dental Board’s current registration standard has been in place since 2014. A scheduled review of the standard began in late 2017 and included wide-ranging public consultation from March until May 2018. In November 2018, the Board submitted its proposed revised Scope of practice registration standard to the CHC.
At the CHC’s March 2019 meeting, Health Ministers referred the proposed standard to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the ACSQHC). The purpose of the referral was for the Commission to independently assess the patient quality and safety implications and the consumer benefit of the revised standard. The ACSQHC completed its review in July 2019.
The ACSQHC’s independent review report was submitted to the CHC’s November meeting. Health Ministers noted the review outcomes that there is no evidence the proposed revised Scope of practice registration standard will have an adverse effect on patient safety and quality. The review also indicated that the changes may increase the capacity of the dental workforce, may provide greater access to services and reduce wait times for services for rural and remote communities.
In light of the ACSQHC’s independent report, Health Ministers approved the revised Scope of practice registration standard. They also supported publication of the ACSQHC’s independent report.
Health Ministers were provided with a copy of the Board’s draft revised Guidelines for scope of practice. These guidelines have been updated after taking into account the independent review and the Board’s ongoing engagement with the profession throughout 2019 to support the implementation of the revised standard.
The CHC decision is published in the communiqué from its November meeting.
The ACSQHC’s independent review report has also now been published on the CHC website.
In coming weeks, the Board will publish further materials to support the standard, including the strengthened guidelines that will help to clarify certain aspects of the changes. Information about implementation of the revised standard will also be shared at this time. Practitioners and stakeholders should monitor the Board’s website to not miss this update.
The Board will continue to engage with the dental profession and key stakeholders during the rest of 2019, and in the lead up to the planned start of the standard in mid-2020, about the proposed changes and the approach to implementation. It has identified key activities to support communications about and implementation of the revised standard.
These include hosting stakeholder forums for the profession in each capital city and in some regional hubs, developing consumer-focused information about the changes and a post-implementation review 12 months after the standard takes effect.
An update for all stakeholders and practitioners will be included in the Board’s December communiqué and newsletter publications.